Self-service is a hot topic in the call center industry. From knowledge bases to virtual agents, the potential disruption that a solid set of self-service applications can bring to contact center efficiency and customer experience is unquestionable and justifies all the buzz.
With artificial intelligence (AI), especially speech technologies, becoming more mature and commoditized, the scope and possibilities for self-service and conversational tools like virtual agents expand like never before.
It is no surprise that, according to Gartner, the top three emerging technologies expected to have the biggest impact on customer experience (CX) projects in the next three years include AI (53%), virtual customer assistants and chatbots (39%).
Using AI-powered virtual agents, companies have 24/7 customer assistants autonomously solving customer issues with a conversational experience, directly impacting three aspects:
1. Reduced costs
Virtual agents solve and deflect contacts that otherwise would be answered by live agents, meaning the contact center can divert or reduce its resources and costs. The direct impact of virtual agents varies depending on cost structure and the percentage of use-cases that can be automated. For a contact center with 2M calls per year and a 40% automated use-cases, savings can average $2.1M.
2. Increased customer satisfaction (CSAT)
Most customer questions are routine and defined and should not require interaction with an agent. Virtual agents are perfect tools to help customers with these common issues and avoid queues and wait times when trying to reach available live agents. Additionally, virtual agents can provide sustainable 24/7 support for many contact centers.
3. Empowered live agents
Free live agents from repetitive tasks and engage them in becoming experts in complex interactions. With more time to train, agents will master products and processes, becoming more efficient in solving even the most difficult issues.
With self-service becoming ever more popular across customer demographics and the resilience of voice as a preferred channel, virtual agents stand out as the tool that fulfills the self-service promise of saving contact centers millions through automation.